Ashwood bourbon bar proves serendipitous for newlyweds
BY MELODY FALCONER-POUNDER
The Ashwood Bourbon Bar has a new team at the helm as Brian and Lyndsay Clarke took over the restaurant mid-November. Lyndsay will be in charge of the front of house while Brian is in the kitchen cooking up Southern cuisine Thursday to Sunday evenings through the winter months. (Photo by Melody Falconer-Pounder)
For Lyndsay and Brian Clarke 2016 has been a very good year. The couple of six years got married in May, purchased a converted West Perth Schoolhouse built in 1872 to call home in September and jumped at the chance to run The Ashwood Bourbon Bar in November.
“We always knew we’d make it to Bayfield eventually,” said Lyndsay, a Mixologist in charge of the front-of-house. “We just didn’t know it would be this quick.”
“Having a restaurant in Bayfield is a dream,” added Chef Brian.
The couple learned that owner of The Ashwood Inn, Kirsten Harrett, was looking for people to lease the restaurant and Brian sent her an enthusiastic email to which she graciously offered them the opportunity.
“We came up and toured the place and in 48 hours had made our decision. It was a serendipitous event,” said Lyndsay.
The couple hit the ground running, unveiling a new dinner menu as well as a three or four course Holiday fixed price menu in mid-November. They noted that Harrett, Rob MacFie, Innkeeper Rebecca Luscombe and her husband, Ryan Malcolm, were a very welcoming and helpful team. The Clarke’s stated that in just a few short weeks they felt like a family working together.
“Brian’s parents live in the Harbour Lights condos across the street. Bayfield is like my Disney World so we are so happy they are a part of it,” said Lyndsay.
Brian expressed that he certainly has lucked out in his career having the opportunity to work with good chefs that taught him the tricks of the trade. He notes that the chefs he has worked for have given him the freedom to build menus. As former chef of Practical Henry’s in London, he has worked extensively in Southern Cuisine, cooking with bourbon, creating tasting menus as well as multi-course meals.
“I have spent the last three years experimenting with the Southern style of cuisine and the atmosphere so the restaurant is still going to remain the Bourbon bar. With Canadian cuisine there are no set parameters – Canadian farmed ingredients mixed with foreign inspiration. My general rule is if it’s not delicious then it doesn’t leave the kitchen,” explained Brian.
Brian added that his wife is the perfect person to bounce things off of.
“She knows what wine to pair with what dish and she isn’t afraid to tell me when something isn’t good,” he said.
Lyndsay, who has managed a few restaurants in London, ON, studied in the Niagara Sommelier Program and what she took away from the this education was the ability to source VQA and imported wines with her husbands cuisine.
The couple is both looking forward to summer in Bayfield 2017. Lyndsay plans to unveil a “killer cocktail list” and is already preparing infused herbs and bitters in anticipation of the busy season. Brian is excited for the growing season to begin again so that he can incorporate locally grown food into his menu.
Brian noted that they plan to offer a more expansive menu with more “shareable” offerings and small plates.
“So if they come in for a drink they have something to nosh on,” said Brian.“We have some big plans for the summer, It is going to be fun.”
In keeping with the Bourbon theme of the restaurant they have brought in 10 new, rare Bourbons aged from four to 20 years, such as, Bib & Tucker and Michters.
However, they would like to be known as more than just a Bourbon bar. They have brought in local gins and vodkas from Perth, and other Canadian locations. In the New Year they are planning on bringing in shrubs (vinegars) and bitters from Canadian producers to ensure they have the best ingredients to make unique cocktails.
The newlyweds are also looking forward to providing engaged couples the option of using them as caterers for weddings held at The Ashwood Inn and Deer Park Lodge in 2018.
One of the things Brian loves about Bayfield is how the “restaurants respect one another.”
“Nobody seems to step on each other’s toes. All are unique to the town itself and each one is a piece of the bigger puzzle,” he said.
The Ashwood Bourbon Bar is currently open for dinner Thursday to Sunday from 4:30 to 9 p.m. In the New Year, they willl feature Buck-A-Shuck Thursdays and half price wine on Sundays. To view their current menu visit: http://www.theashwood.com/menu/.
Bayfield Lions' Club announce 2017 Legacy projects
Bayfield Lion Dave Nearingburg (left) and Lion Bob Merriman (right) were pleased to accept the contract from Bob Fisher, of Mill Road Manufacturing, in Brucefield, for the construction of a mobile stage.
On Monday, Dec. 19, Bayfield Lions’ President Bill Rowat and Treasurer Dave Nearingburg presented to Bluewater Council, the Club's projects for 2017 in celebration of Canada's 150th, International Lions’ 100th, and Bayfield Lions’ 70th anniversaries. The Club has approved three major projects costing a total of $45,000.
First, the Bayfield Lions’ Club has contracted with Mill Road Manufacturing, of Brucefield, to construct a mobile stage. It will be available for use by groups within the community at events like the Lions’ Walk for Dog Guides, the Bayfield Town Hall's “Sunset on Summer” and other outdoor events. It will be first used at the Lions’ Walk for Dog Guides on June 4.
Jim Wallace, of Sharpe's Creek Forge in Central Huron, shows Lion Don Vance (middle) and Lion Penny Overboe some Blacksmithing technique during a visit to his forge. The Bayfield Lions' membership has commissioned Wallace to create eight bike racks to be placed around the village as part of their 2017 Legacy projects. (Submitted photos)
The second Lions’ project is the purchase of eight bike racks to be placed throughout the village. The Bluewater Heritage Advisory Committee has approved the rack design. The racks will be built by Jim Wallace of Sharp's Creek Forge, in Central Huron, to be ready for use in the Spring of 2017.
The Club's third project will focus on a number of items meant to improve Clan Gregor Square. The Bayfield Lions will fund the services of a Certified Arborist, to conduct a tree assessment and create a long-term tree management plan for the Square. By agreement with the Municipality, the Lions’ Club will fund the replacement of up to six trees deemed at risk and removed by the Municipality in the next two years. Brodie Tree Service is expected to provide and plant the large caliper replacement trees.
The Lions will also replace the existing old picnic tables in the Square with 15 new handicap accessible picnic tables with easy-entry aluminum frames. The Club has contracted with Mill Road Manufacturing to build the table frames and the Lions’ Club will provide the lumber and labor to construct the tables.
In light of the significant improvements Lions will be funding for the Square, they requested Bluewater, as part of their regular maintenance activities, to aerate and over seed the grass surface throughout the Square.
The Lions also hope funding can be found to replace the deteriorated cedar posts outlining the Square. Both the Lions and Bluewater will be looking for possible funding sources to cover the cost.
Looking for something fun and active to do with the youngsters between Christmas and New Years? Look no further than the Bayfield Arena.
Free public skating times are available today (Dec. 28) and Dec. 29 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. The Spotted Cow, on Bayfield’s Main Street, is sponsoring Dec. 28 while Keys Investment Service is supporting the Dec. 29 ice time.
Public Skating will also be offered gratis Jan. 2nd, 4th and 5th from noon to 2 p.m.
Anyone interested in sponsoring Public Skating over the Christmas Break is welcome to contact Ron Keys at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Bayfield River Valley Trail Association (BRVTA) invites everyone to start the New Year off both healthy and happy by participating in the annual Winter Walk along Mavis’ Trail and the Taylor Trail on Jan. 14.
This is a family-friendly, community event that encourages activity in the great outdoors. Weather permitting snowshoes will be available to rent or folks can bring their own or participants can also traipse the trails on foot.
The guided winter walk will begin at 11 a.m. Hotdogs and cider will be served at the Varna Complex at Noon.
Ausable Bayfield Conservation Authority (ABCA) will be on hand to provide information about the Main Bayfield Watershed Plan. There will also be displays and information available on the BRVTA, Blue Bayfield and the Huron Tract Land Trust Conservancy.
Donations to the BRVTA will be welcomed. For more information visit bayfieldtrails.com.
EMPTIES FOR ALZHEIMERS
Dianne Brandon, Carrie and Ava Sabourin would like to remind everyone preparing for holiday gatherings that their tradition of collecting empties for Alzheimer's Disease is continuing this year.
The trio will be participating in the Huron County 2017 Walk for Memories in May of 2017 and are now collecting donations for the cause.
It is, of course, hoped that everyone will celebrate responsibly this festive season and when doing so plan to donate the empty beer bottles and cans; wine and liquor bottles to their team, “For the Love of Elane and Doris”. After living with Alzheimer’s, Elane Brandon, Sabourin’s grandmother died in April 2015 while Doris Schilbe, Dianne’s mother died in August of 2014.
Empties of all sorts may be dropped off at Brandon's Hardware in Bayfield, or picked up anytime, just call Brandon’s Hardware at 519 525-8884. Empties may also be dropped off at Bayfield Convenience in their names.
CONSERVATIONIST OF THE YEAR
Ausable Bayfield Conservation has celebrated seven decades of partnerships (1946 to 2016) in its 70th anniversary year. The local conservation authority, for more than 30 of those years, has honored local Conservationists of the Year. The annual award returns in 2017. The nomination deadline is Tuesday, Jan. 31.
Ausable Bayfield Conservation Authority (ABCA) has presented the award since 1984. The ABCA is inviting you to nominate a person, farm, business, or organization that does positive work in the local watershed community.
Each award winner is a business, organization, or person residing in the watershed or having done conservation work there.
The nomination form and award guidelines are available on the ABCA website at abca.on.ca. Simply type in ‘award’ in the search box at the top of the home page and then press ‘Search’ to find the page. Or, you can go directly to the page at this link: abca.on.ca/page.php?page=conservation-award.
The award is to be presented on March 16 at Ironwood Golf Club, 70969 Morrison Line, 2 KM east of Exeter.
The Conservationist of the Year receives a framed limited-edition conservation print as a prize and the conservation authority also makes a donation towards a tree and plaque at a Commemorative Woods site maintained by the Ausable Bayfield Conservation Foundation.
Current ABCA staff and directors are not eligible for the award. To learn more please call 519 235-2610 or toll-free 1-888-286-2610 or email email@example.com.
The Bayfield Historical Society Board (BHSB) announces that Ralph Laviolette is retiring as the volunteer archivist.
For the past seven years, they have benefited greatly from his commitment and contributions. These include but are not limited to organizing and indexing much of the historical material, creating summer student job training and researcher positions, overseeing the website upgrade, researching and writing documents, organizing historical tours, responding to the constant stream of queries and representing the BHS throughout Huron County. The Board of Directors would like to thank him for his extensive work in promoting the history of Bayfield.
Although Laviolette has agreed to continue on a reduced hours schedule for the next few months, the BHSB has formally begun its search for a volunteer archivist. The key expectations of this position include collecting, storing, preserving and cataloging books, manuscripts, maps, photographs, newspapers, scrapbooks and other historical material and making this information available for research.
Please contact Doug Brown at 519 565-5187 if you are interested.
Bayfield Lion Larry Simpson received the highest honor a Lion member could receive in April of 2014, the Melvin Jones Fellowship. (Submitted photo)
The community and beyond will no doubt be sadded to learn that long-time resident and well known community benefactor, Larry Simpson has died. He passed in the early hours of Dec. 22.
His devotion to family and friends and his dedication to improving life for those less fortunate will be deeply missed. Larry was a passionate golfer, devoted boater, community booster and perfect gentleman. As Bayfield Lions’ Club President his positive, no-such-word-as-can’t attitude infected every member and led to a rebirth of the Club.
Larry is survived by his wife of 54 years, Willy, his children Don and Debbie and his grandchildren.
Larry’s funeral will be held at St. John the Divine Anglican Church, in Arva on Tuesday, Jan. 3 at noon. A Celebration of Life will be held in May, further details will follow.